Before I tell you about the journey from Ardrishaig via the kyles of Bute to Rothesay, let me start with saying that we woke this morning to a beautiful day, light wind and sunshine. We spoke to the lock keeper who suggested that we should be ready to depart from the Crinan canal basin at about 9am, as there were a number of boats entering the canal and then we could slide into the empty lock and exit easily.
So that’s what we did, there was hardly any wind as we headed down the Lower Loch Fyne, and any breeze we did have was ‘on our nose’. I did the passage planning, which was pretty straight forward until we headed into the top of the Kyles of Bute, where we had to be very aware to follow the suggested passage. When passage planning I opted to take the south passage by Burnt Island, but we observed that the majority of yachts were using the north passage. The East and West Kyles around Bute are stunning, a wide protected sailing area, we were amongst many sailing boats today.
As we came round the Ardlarmont Point into the Kyles we were able to raise the sails and glide up towards Auchenlochan very gracefully; we were in no hurry, and the tides were neaps, so we didn’t have to worry about them, sun shining all of us on deck…it was a fabulous day. Every now and then we hit 4.5 knots when a gust blew through, but for the main we were travelling at about 2.5knots.
As we came down the East Kyle, the engine was turned back on until we got to Ardmaleish Point, we could see Rothesay ahead so cut the engine and again made a slow push into port. Marian was on the helm, and as we approached Rothesay I called up on VHF channel 12 to seek permission to enter the harbour. A very grumpy port control officer told us to stand off until the ferry left and then he would raise the bridge; it was probably just that I misunderstood the inflection in his strong accent, but boy I wouldn’t want to upset him!
We got the all clear, when the three red lights turned to green at the harbour entrance, and Marian took us into port and right onto the pontoon, which was very brave of Marian because she finds going in and out of port exceptionally stressful.
On route here I text some friends near Greenock, Roger and Claudette, we met three years ago in Tobermory Marina. We ended up towing them to the Crinan as their engine had stopped working, and as we were going ourselves because ours was playing up, it didn’t seem a bother. We have remained in contact and as a result of our text, they set sail from Greenock and met us here in Rothesay. We all sat in the cockpit of Kantara and chatted away for a number of hours before heading ashore for some dinner. We had a smashing catch up, it’s such a shame we all live so far away from each other. I read a Danish proverb recently which said ‘The road to friend’s house is never long’. But last night we were obviously all feeling the same because we worked out how we could both get back and forth more easily!
On returning to our boat, there were three man sat on their motor cruiser, listening to music, chatting and drinking…which they were still doing at 3.30am, my thoughts and comments this morning should remain untyped!
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I hope that you enjoyed our blog article about our trip from Ardrishaig via the kyles of Bute to Rothesay, if you have any advice for sailors in and around this area, please leave a comment.
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